Rep. John Katko has become the first Republican member of the House of Representatives to say that he will support impeaching President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump Mob last week.
In a statement, Katko said that "to allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy."
"For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action," he added. "I will vote to impeach this President."
Katko highlighted the events of the Jan. 6 attack in his statement as a justification for his decision: "The facts are this: last week, the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a mob intent on disrupting a Joint Session of Congress and preventing certification of the Electoral College results. Consequently, the U.S Capitol Police were overrun. Insurrectionists stormed and vandalized the U.S. Capitol, assaulting those who stood in their way and leaving five Americans dead. One law enforcement officer was killed and approximately 50 others were injured. Many of those officers were severely beaten by the mob. For the staff and police officers who were in the Capitol that day, this event will forever haunt them."
Katko accused Trump of encouraging the insurrection, both on social media and in his speech on the Ellipse: "By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement, and division. When this manifested in violent acts on January 6th, he refused to promptly and forcefully call it off, putting countless lives in danger."
The Syracuse native added Tuesday that he does not support a non-binding resolution requesting that Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump.
Shortly after Katko's announcement, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the No. 3 Republican in the House, said that she will vote to impeach Trump.
"Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks," Cheney said in a statement about the attack, "but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing."
"None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not," she added. "There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger became the third GOP House member to support the impeachment proceedings, tweeting on Tuesday that the U.S. is "in a moment in history we have not experienced in modern times."
"There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection," Kinzinger said of last week's events. "He used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative. So in assessing the articles of impeachment brought before the House, I must consider: if these actions--the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch--are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?"
“I will vote in favor of impeachment," Kinzinger concluded.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) also said Tuesday he would vote to impeach.
“Today the President characterized his inflammatory rhetoric at last Wednesday’s rally as ‘totally appropriate,’ and he expressed no regrets for last week’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” Upton said in a statement Tuesday.
“This sends exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support the very core of our democratic principles and took a solemn oath to the Constitution,” he said. “I would have preferred a bipartisan, formal censure rather than a drawn-out impeachment process. I fear this will now interfere with important legislative business and a new Biden Administration. But it is time to say: Enough is enough.”
The House voted Tuesday night on a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump with a Cabinet vote and “declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”
Democrats proceeded even though Pence said he would not do what the resolution asked. The House is scheduled to vote on a single article of impeachment Wednesday charging Trump with inciting an insurrection.